Today is also the one year anniversary of another one of my favorite days ever. The day we were able to bring Tera home from the hospital. She was only there for seven days total, but it felt like forever when we were living it. Thinking back, we spent those days after I was discharged, living out a bag in the hospital lobby. We brought our meals with us so we weren't living off of cafeteria food, I brought my computer and answered emails and we spent the rest of the time in the NICU with her. We'd leave when she slept for a while and then come back for her feedings. We usually got to the hospital around 7am and then left around 8 or 9 pm. I'd wake up once or twice during the night to pump and the rest I did at the hospital. Every feeding, every day, we'd hope harder than we'd ever hoped that she would take at least 30 ml (around 2 oz) without the NG tube. The doctor had told us that she would be there at least seven days for the antibiotics, but that she would also have to be able to feed on her own before they would release her and that they were hoping for around 50 ml before that would happen. Thursday, when we got to the hospital, my strong baby girl had pulled the NG tube out and they decided that instead of reinserting it, they would see if she could do it on her own. Finally, I think that Friday, she was getting close to the 50 ml mark and told us they would do the car seat test that night in hopes of us being able to go home with her on Saturday. They perform a car seat test on every baby in the NICU before releasing them to make sure they don't desat (drop oxygen levels) while in there. The baby has to maintain safe levels for an hour and a half to pass. Leaving on Friday was a little stressful. Neither of us could deny the excitement of the anticipation of being able to bring her home the next day and finally begin our life as a family at home. But at the same time, we had to be prepared emotionally if she wasn't allowed to come home. The next day we excitedly left for the hospital and when we arrived, we found she had already had her discharge papers signed. I'm fairly certain I cried.
We had a few things to do before we could actually leave like do a CPR training on DVD and wait for her last dose of antibiotics to finish. While I pumped one last time at the hospital, Tom was able to finally remove our sweet girl from all the tubes and wires and finally carry her, without attachments, for the first time since the day she was born. I made several phone calls letting people know we were really coming home and arranging who would be coming by to see the newest addition finally in her own home.
I dressed her in her homecoming outfit, which was huge on her, we spent over ten minutes just getting her secured in her car seat, and we left for the first time as a family. I sat in the backseat with her on the way home and she cried most of the 15 minute drive. When we finally got her home, I just carried her around revelling in the idea she was finally ours with no doctors or nurses, wires or tubes. That first night I was completely paranoid to leave her in her crib. After all, she had spent every night of her short life thus far, attached to machines that would alert someone if her breathing or heart rate slowed down. I did manage to do it though and waking up with her in the next room was one of the best feelings ever.
One year later, even if it's earlier than it should be, I still look forward to seeing her face in the morning.
Fact for today:
One in every 691